Updating the European digital identity framework

Briefing 15-01-2024

Safeguarding EU citizens’ digital identity: European digital identity wallet

The 2014 Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS Regulation or eIDAS) was the first digital identity legislation to pave the way for cross-border electronic identification, authentication and website certification across the EU. While the application of eIDAS has had a mixed record, the pandemic has fuelled demand for eIDAS solutions that are capable of ensuring broader access to public and private services. On 3 June 2021, the European Commission put forward a proposal to update the European digital identity framework. This would allow citizens across the EU to identify and authenticate themselves online (through their European digital identity wallet), share digital documents or prove a specific identity attribute such as age. In parallel, the Commission adopted a recommendation to design a toolbox supporting the framework so as to avoid fragmentation and barriers due to diverging standards. After the European Parliament and the Council of the EU approved their negotiating positions on the proposal in March 2023 and December 2022 respectively, they reached a provisional agreement on the creation of a pan-European digital identity framework on 8 November 2023. Both now need to formally adopt the text before it is published in the Official Journal of the EU and enters into force. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.